The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Ecology Institute announces call for new research center proposals

The Ecology Institute has established a modest funding program to help support the development of new centers that have a central ecological theme. The aim is to add value to ongoing basic and applied ecological research and to foster new collaborations across the Penn State community.

Submission Criteria for New Research Centers

Proposals for new centers should define the scope and strategic role of new collaborative research centers (i.e. key questions to think about are why do we need this center, who will participate, what will the center do and what does it hope to achieve?).

Ideas for centers could include themes built around assessment and understanding of microbial diversity (symbionts and microbiomes), biodiversity and human wellbeing (e.g. biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and provision of goods and services), novel ecosystems (e.g. exploring causes and consequences of drivers of global change such as land use change, climate change, invasive species), or ecological modeling (e.g. attempting to harness the diverse modeling expertise that exists across the university). However, these ideas are simply illustrative and we are open to any ideas that reflect some existing ecological research strengths across different departments and/or colleges, whilst demonstrating strategic opportunities for growth.

Proposals for new centers could be up to $10,000, with scope for renewal for 2 further years (this continuation of funding recognizes that new initiatives take time to build but is subject to annual demonstration of appropriate progress and ongoing availability of funds within the Ecology Institute).

Submission instructions

All proposals must be submitted electronically to Matthew Thomas ( no later than 5:00 pm on 19 September 2016. Please indicate ‘Ecology Institute Center Proposal’ in the subject header.

Each proposal will comprise a 1-2 page project description and an appendix.

The project description should include sections on the Rationale and Relevance, Activities, Outputs & Outcomes, Budget and budget justification.

The appendix should include brief resumes for the PI and all identifiable co-PI’s, and a list of all collaborators (where appropriate).

Proposals for new centers should be led by Faculty (not restricted to affiliates of the Ecology Intercollege Graduate Degree Program) but we encourage active engagement with postdocs and grad students.

The aim is to add value and create new opportunities, so the call is not intended to support existing research activities (i.e. not to supplement materials and supplies for ongoing projects or initiatives, especially those already receiving support from Huck or PSIEE).

Proposals will be reviewed by the Ecology Institute steering committee, with the aim of announcing results during October.